My Two Cents
Thursday, 15 February 2024 14:24

Criterion’s May slate, plus Indicator returns to Columbia Noir, KLSC bows new Fletch Blu-rays, Flesh Gordon in Germany and more!

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We have two more new disc reviews for you here at The Bits today, including…

Stephen’s thoughts on Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort (1981) in 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome, as well as his take on another of Toho’s recent Godzilla 4K UHD releases, in this case Ishirō Honda’s Destroy All Monsters (1968). Once again, this is a region-free Japanese import release, but with no English subtitles.

The big announcement news today is that our friends at the Criterion Collection have officially unveiled their May release slate, which is set to include an upgrade of A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu (1934/1959) (Spine #232 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/7, followed by an upgrade of Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) (Spine #58 – 4K UHD + Blu-ray and Blu-ray) on 5/14, Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembène (Spine #1217 – Blu-ray and DVD)—which includes Emitaï (1971), Xala (1975), and Ceddo (1977)—on 5/21, and Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall (2023) (Spine #1218 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000) (Spine #1219 – Blu-ray) on 5/28.

You can see the cover art for Peeping Tom at left, and all of them below the break. We’ve updated our Criterion Spines Project listing here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]

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Also today, Powerhouse Films has announced that their Indicator label will return to classic Columbia Noir in May with the Columbia Noir #6: The Whistler Blu-ray box set (in the UK only; it’s confirmed Region B). Look for it to include The Whistler (1944), The Mark of the Whistler (1944), The Power of the Whistler (1945), Voice of the Whistler (1945), Mysterious Intruder (1946), The Secret of the Whistler (1946), and The Thirteenth Hour (1947)—all staring actor Richard Dix—as well as the final film, The Return of the Whistler (1948), starring Michael Duane. Special features will include newly recorded commentaries, critical appreciations, and rare archival short films. You’ll also get a 120-page book. The set is limited to 6,000 units and streets on 5/20. Here’s what it looks like (the link will take you to the Powerhouse films website where you can pre-order the title)...

Columbia Noir #6: The Whistler Blu-ray box

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has set Michael Ritchie’s Fletch (1985) and Fletch Lives (1989) for release on Blu-ray on 4/16, each mastered from a new 2K scan of the 35mm interpositive. They’ll also include new audio commentaries by Bryan Reesman and Max Evry.

Blue Underground has officially announced the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release of Jess Franco’s Night of the Blood Monster (1970 – aka The Bloody Judge) on 3/26. Extras will include audio commentaries, interviews, deleted and alternate scenes, trailers, and more.

And here’s a surprise: Turbine Medien has just announced the German Blu-ray release of Howard Ziehm and Michael Benveniste’s sci-fi parody Flesh Gordon (1974) on 2/22, in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary! And there are no less than four different Mediabook versions, each with different cover artwork. Here’s what they all look like...

Turbine's Flesh Gordon Mediabooks (Blu-ray Disc)

The actual contents in each version are the same, including 2 Blu-ray discs that feature both the original uncut English version and the German versions of the film (with English and German 2.0 mono audio in DTS-HD MA format, plus subtitles in both languages), the Super-8 version, a video comparing the English and German versions, the US trailer, Trailers from Hell with Mick Garris, an introduction by Jason Williams, audio commentary by director Howard Ziehm, and the 135-minute Sex Rays & Stop Motion conversation with Dr. Rolf Giesen and Christian Genzel. The package also includes a 64-page book called The Journey to Porn by Christian Genzel featuring a guest article by Ingo Rumpf and rare photos.

And Shout! Studios has just announced that last year’s popular Toei anime Kamen Rider Geats: The Complete Series is coming to Blu-ray on 4/23 as an 8-disc set. All 49 episodes will be included. The series is just the latest entry in the long-lived anime franchise that originally premiered on Japanese television in 1971.

Also newly announced by Shout are Anthony Hickox’s Jill Rips (2000) on Blu-ray and a 4-disc Classic Tokusatsu Collection for Blu-ray release (both) on 2/27, including Prince of Space (1959), Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961), Watari, the Ninja Boy (1966), Golden Ninja (1966), Dragon Showdown (1966), and Ninja Scope (1969).

Finally, there’s been a lot of talk online recently of a “new 4K restoration” of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie (2001) that’s being screened at various film festivals. Many theaters are currently promoting this (see here, here, here, etc). But here’s the thing: Jeunet himself has confirmed (in a new interview with Backstory Magazine published just yesterday) that there is indeed a new restoration, but it’s 2K... not 4K. Note that any future disc release here in the States (likely on Blu-ray) would be a Sony title. Watch for potential announcements in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can watch the interview yourself here on YouTube...

We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for the new Criterion titles and more. We’ll add the pre-order links as they go live...

Peeping Tom (4K Ultra HD) Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembène (Blu-ray Disc) A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu (Blu-ray Disc)

Anatomy of a Fall (Blu-ray Disc) Girlfight (Blu-ray Disc) Kamen Rider Geats: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

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